MJ’s Musings: My Obsession with the Sky

I have been obsessed with sky nearly all my life. I blame my dad. When I was very young, he woke me up in the middle of the night, carried me outside and pointed to a light in the sky and told me it was Sputnik, a satellite. When I didn’t understand that, he explained it was like a big basketball in the sky.

Whenever a jet contrail appeared in the sky over the house, he would point it out to me and my sibs. It was years before I realized the contrails were a miracle to him, because they didn’t exist in his childhood. My own children looked at me oddly and said, “so what?” whenever I point out contrails to them.

Then there was a solar eclipse for which he made a “viewer” out of a cardboard box one wore over one’s head. There was a pin hole in the back that let in the light from the sun. One watched the eclipse projected on the front of the inside. He let all of the neighborhood kids take turns wearing the box so they could “see” the eclipse.

I once bought a child’s book on the constellations, allegedly for my children. I still use it for me.

One Labor Day weekend, there was a gorgeous full moon. I took my son’s toy telescope outside for a better look. A few hours later, a derecho blew through town, becoming one of those weather events that are legends in your area. I remember waking up in the middle of the night with lightning strobing like a rock concert of my youth. Foolishly,  I went out on my upstairs back porch to watch, not realizing it was a derecho and what that meant. People died that night.

Then the Internet came along, and I found a site that would tell me which star I was seeing every morning before my family and life descended on me. I used my link to that site for years.These days,  I can’t even remember the name.

Now I have an app on my phone: Sky View Lite. It’s an amazing app. The first time I used it on a writing retreat, while we were sitting around a fire pit, my fellow authors were blown away by the way we could “see” the constellations and stars, even through the cloud cover.  Several of them downloaded it then and there.

My obsession with the sky continues.